As Science Fiction Becomes Reality in the US, Will Driverless Cars Make Their Way to Canada?

On September 25, California became the third U.S. State to legalized driverless cars, behind Nevada and Florida.  California Governor Jerry Brown was driven to Google Headquarters in a driverless Toyota Prius, to sign legislation legalizing driverless vehicles on California roads.

“Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality—the self-driving car,” Gov. Brown said. “Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish, but they’ll get over it.”

Google is known for innovation, and its driverless car program hasn’t had an accident in 480,000 kilometres. It should be noted that, just because driverless cars are now legal, doesn’t mean you’ll see everyone strapping a lawnchair on their Roomba. The new legislation is in place to determine regulations for safety, performance, and testing on major roads; something Google have been lobbying for, for a long time.

The benefits of driverless cars are many. The Wall Street Journal states that the impact of driverless cars on traffic congestion could save more than $100 billion in time and fuel.

There are still many with concerns.There is a huge liability problem with driverless cars, as any accident would then become the fault of the manufacturer, not the driver.There are also major privacy issues, as Google are not exactly known as the bastion of personal privacy.

Concerns aside, the American Department of Motor Vehicles are required to come up with regulations for driverless cars by 2015, and we may be seeing them on the road soon after that. It seems Canada still has plenty of time to take a page out of California’s book.